Israel is guilty of Apartheid and Annexation says UN’s Palestine Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) has welcomed the publication of the latest report by Michael Lynk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which states clearly that “Israel has imposed upon Palestine an apartheid reality in a post-apartheid world.”
The Special Rapporteur’s report now joins others by Al Haq, Yesh Din, B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International in concluding that Israel is guilty of the crime against humanity of Apartheid.
The 18 page report details Israel’s maintenance of a military occupation that is now “indistinguishable from annexation”. It states that this de facto annexation is underpinned by the imposition of a system of Apartheid, characterised by “an institutionalized regime of systematic racial oppression and discrimination” established in order to “maintain the domination of one racial-national-ethnic group over another.”
The report notes that “Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs in East Jerusalem and the West Bank live their lives under a single regime which differentiates its distribution of rights and benefits of the basis of national and ethnic identity, and which ensures the supremacy of one group over, and to the detriment of, the other.”
It further states that Israel’s “system of institutionalized discrimination with the intent of permanent domination has been built upon the regular practice of inhuman(e) acts” such as “arbitrary and extra-judicial killings. Torture. The violent deaths of children. The denial of fundamental human rights. A fundamentally flawed military court system and the lack of criminal due process. Arbitrary detention [and] Collective punishment,” and it is clear that the endorsement of these practices “by [Israel’s parliament] and the Israeli judicial system, indicates that they are not the result of random and isolated acts but integral to Israel’s system of rule.”
The report concludes that “that the political system of entrenched rule in the occupied Palestinian territory which endows one racial-national-ethnic group with substantial rights, benefits and privileges while intentionally subjecting another group to live behind walls, checkpoints and under a permanent military rule “sans droits, sans égalité, sans dignité et sans liberté” satisfies the prevailing evidentiary standard for the existence of apartheid.”
IPSC Chairperson Fatin Al Tamimi welcomed the report, stating: “The UN Special Rapporteur is to be commended for publishing this powerful report, which echoes the points we Palestinians have been making for decades. With crystal clarity, the report shows that oppressive regime Israel imposes upon the Palestinian people is neither accidental nor temporary, but rather it is calculated, systematic and permanent. As it clearly states, not only is it de facto annexation, ‘it is Apartheid’, and it is designed to ensure Palestinians remain in a position of perpetual subjugation.”
Ms Tamimi continued: “In particular we welcome the report’s recommendations for action. The IPSC has long argued that there must be a political and economic price attached to Israel’s systematic oppression of Palestinians and denial of their rights. The reaction of the international community to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows us that such punitive actions are possible when there is political will to undertake them.”
Ms. Tamimi concluded: “From Al Haq to B’Tselem to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, human rights organisations are clear that Israel is committing the Crime of Apartheid. Yet the international community continues to ignore them, and instead embraces and rewards Israel, thereby aiding and abetting the commission of this crime against humanity. Even our own government says it will not use the word Apartheid because it does not find it “helpful” – but we ask, not helpful to whom? To Palestinians who are seeking their freedom, justice and equality, or to the Apartheid state of Israel that is seeking the freedom to continue its racial domination in perpetuity?”
“Enough. The impunity has to end. Palestinians must have our South Africa moment. We must be free!”
The Report’s Recommendations include the following –
- Israel “must end all discriminatory and apartheid laws, practices and policies which privilege Jewish Israelis living in the occupied territory and subjugate Palestinian Arabs.”
- The international community should “assemble a diplomatic menu of accountability measures to bring the Israeli occupation and its practice of apartheid in the Palestinian territory to a complete end.”
- The international community should “support any references or applications to the International Criminal Court and/or the International Court of Justice with respect to the legal consequences of the practice of apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territory.
- The United Nations should “re-establish the Special Committee Against Apartheid”.
The full report can be read here.
Previous reports detailing the Apartheid nature of Israel’s policies include:
Amnesty International: Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity (2021)
Human Rights Watch: A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution (2021)
B’Tselem: A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is Apartheid (2021)
War on Want: Israeli Apartheid factsheet (2021)
Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council: Israel Entrenches Crime of Apartheid over the Palestinian People (2020)
Yesh Din: The Occupation of the West Bank and the Crime of Apartheid (2020)
UN ESCWA: Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid (2017)